S.F. Tourists Getting Screwed by New Golden Gate Bridge Tolling System

Thumbnail image for 800px-GoldenGateBridge-001.jpg
Pretty ... pretty deceiving
Bay Area denizens are well aware that toll collection at the Golden Gate Bridge has become solely electronic, with FasTrak and online payments as our only way to cross into the city by car.

But what about those enthusiastic yet ignorant tourists who only have cash in hand? Turns out, just like the rest of us, they are also getting slapped with fees and fines for not following the new bridge-crossing rules, according to the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. And they have 21 days to pay it.

As KCBS, recently noted, tourists in rental cars are getting screwed. Take the Eddy family from Springfield, Illinois, for instance. They crossed the Golden Gate Bridge on a recent family trip with a rental car, only to later be billed by the rental company for a toll they didn't know they had to pay.

"I noticed there was a toll but I didn't see anywhere to pay it," Eddy said to KCBS. "When I rented the car they mentioned nothing at all about FasTrak or anything else."

The KCBS reporter went ahead and did some digging. He contacted several rental companies himself and asked if, as a renter, he needed anything else along with the car to get around the Bay Area. "I was always told 'no,'" the reporter wrote.

"Rental cars will be a challenge for a while in the San Francisco market," said Golden Gate Bridge spokeswoman Mary Currie to KCBS. "People don't know to say, 'Hey, what's the tolling program?'"

Currie noted that with many rental car companies there is an added processing fee to a Toll Invoice, between $2.95 and $9.95. Add that to your already $6 toll and you're out about $16 just to get those (foggy) bridge pictures on your Facebook page.

In a city that's already a pricy place to visit, will these added headaches deter tourists? "Absolutely not," says Tom Kiely, executive vice president of tourism for the San Francisco Travel Association.

Kiely says the Association hasn't received any complaints from tourists about this as of yet, and even if it was bothersome, it's not enough to keep visitors from flocking to the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge.

"I think it's not the easiest system for tourists to utilize, especially those who are not informed about the change, or haven't been to San Francisco since it changed, but I can't see that as a way to just stop people from coming here," Kiely told us. "There's much more to this city than toll issues."

So there you have it: Just like they have to adapt to the steep hills and steep food prices, tourists will somehow figure out the new tolling system -- even if they have to learn the hard way.

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District website will explain it to you tourists out there.



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17 comments
binomy
binomy

I'm a visitor from England, went through the toll once in my car rental. There was a guy at the booth and I handed $6 and he took it, I could see there was fastrack but I didn't know cash was not allowed and he didn't tell me. Nice way to treat tourists. I did not receive a fine notice, Dollar Rental took $21 from my credit card without notifying me, $15 for admin and $6 for the toll.

aliasetc
aliasetc topcommenter

First I'd fire this Mary Currie bitch. Second I'd make the persons who came up with this toll booth less scam take the big dive off of said bridge. Third, I'd replace the toll booths and rehire the toll takers. Fourth, I recommend that tourist not visit San Francisco.until these steps are taken.

Barbara Mcwilliams
Barbara Mcwilliams

Electronic toll collection will eventually cost taxpayers, so much more $$$$ than a few Toll Taker jobs,

johnny99
johnny99

If the $16 went to the bridge district, I wouldn't mind. The scam is that the rental car companies made up this $10 surcharge and are pocketing that money.

塞繆塞繆
塞繆塞繆

Just like a bank! They both like bending u over a sticking it to u

Steven Cole
Steven Cole

Locals too! I got a ticket for not paying a fee that never came to me! Screw that

Zach Middleton
Zach Middleton

Let's call it what it is, a tourist tax designed to raise bridge funds and speed up Marinites commutes by eliminating toll booths. It's elitist, an outrage and makes me sick.

John Mcmahon
John Mcmahon

what about out of state travellers that are in their own car? last time i crossed the bridge, i was thinking "i thought there were toll booths here before? maybe they're at the other end". but they weren't... and i just figgered... yay! is there a warant for me out there somewhere now?

Tammy Lively
Tammy Lively

Nothing in the "progressive" City surprises me anymore!

Maurice Fakhoury
Maurice Fakhoury

The 'call-to-pay' phone system is ALWAYS rejecting calls. The online system rejects the invoice #'s! The toll escalates to $75 + & DMV holds registration until paid! RIP US OFF!

Scott Forsyth
Scott Forsyth

The real scam is the $6 toll goes up to $31 if you are late on a payment. WTF is that!

Brandon Martin
Brandon Martin

Totally elitist mentality with their idea that people should tolerate the fines as a traveling expense.

Leo Villacorte
Leo Villacorte

How about better signage from the bridge district?

mmmmmsf
mmmmmsf

This is so dumb! What about people who are driving into town with their own cars? Are they supposed to purchase a FasTrak thing just for that one visit? Common, SF....

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